A Full Guide Writing an Excellent Precis

Having troubles with creating a precis? You’ve got to the right page. Here you will get much help in completing a great precis for any writing piece. Keep on reading to dive into a precis’s definition and qualities and get valuable tips for writing it.

What is a precis?

Firstly, let’s determine what a precis is and its specifics you need to consider. If we translate the word “precis”, its literal meaning is “precise, understandable, and appropriate”. In its essence, a precis is a condensed synopsis of any other published assignment like a dissertation, study, etc. It summarizes any other writing piece and delivers its key ideas and evidence to the reader. Its specifics are brief structure and clearness.

Things to remember about the precis

There are things to bear in mind to compose a high-quality precis

  • It isn’t a plan or outline of a study or any other research.
  • It doesn’t involve only the key phrases and quotes from other pieces.
  • It isn’t an abstract of a text.

The main differences between precis and summary.

Many students often confuse and misinterpret these two terms, which is a big mistake. We find it essential to clarify the differences between these two types of academic assignments. Of course, there are similarities between them, such as their aim to summarize another text’s content. 

However, a precis is longer as it normally contains from 1/3 to 1⁄4 of primary text, and a summary is shorter. Apart from length, there are some other differences. A summary is broader and covers common things and opinions, while precis is more concentrated on presenting the central thoughts and reasoning of a text.

A step-by-step guide on writing an excellent precis

Here are the main steps to take before moving on to creating a precis itself.

Step 1. Get acquainted with the formatting recommendations

It is essential to follow this step before you get started. Such specific requirements are usually provided by a professor who gives an assignment. They may vary depending on a discipline, field of study, etc.

Get acquainted with your assignment requirements thoroughly before writing and check them out after completing them to ensure your text corresponds to all of them.

Step 2. Study the Text

Take plenty of time to look through the initial text attentively. Most likely, you should do it a few times. For the first time, study the whole text. For the second time, divide it into several parts. If the text has heading or subheadings, rely on them. Another way is to separate the text according to the paragraphs. Also, ensure you know the terminology and look them up in a dictionary if there are unknown words.

Step 3. Make notes.

Define the crucial information and put it down. It will help you separate the important information from all the rest. Widen the notes by explaining the essential points with your own words.

Step 4. Restating the thesis statement

The thesis statement is probably the most significant thing to involve in your precis. Rewrite the thesis statement with your own words.

Step 5. Sum up

Analyze the segments you divided the primary writing into and sum them up into 1-2 sentences. It will serve as a solid basis for further precis. But don’t be too detailed and pay attention to the word count. Include only one main point from each part. Present information in such a way so that the reader didn’t have to refer to the original text to clarify it.

Step 6. Define the author’s aim

Find out what the writer of this text aimed at and what the audience was supposed to do, feel, etc. This should be an aim of your precis, too. As a rule, the aim is connected with a thesis statement. You can also look through the reviews on this text to get acquainted with other viewpoints and clarify an aim more effectively.

Now that you are armed with all the notes, you can dive into the writing process. Here are the main structural parts of a precis and their peculiarities.

A Precis Structure

This is probably the most complicated part as it contains much information to be presented in brief. Here is what a precis introduction involves:

  1. The opening sentence – the author’s name, genre, title, and subject of work. The publication date follows the title placed in parentheses. Use rhetorical verbs such as explains, proves, etc. Here is an example of an opening sentence: Susan Smith’s dissertation “The impact of social networks on learning capabilities in high school” (2019) explains how social media impact student concentration and behavior.
  2. The following sentence – explain how the author supports the thesis. For instance, Smith relies on the outcomes of various research that reveal the reduction of attention focus and decrease in students’ memory capabilities.
  3. The third sentence – the aim of the text. Here you mention what the writer tries to accomplish. The core phrase will be “in order to”. For example, Smith aims to present the studies’ results to raise awareness regarding the consequences of utilizing social media.
  4. The next sentence – identification of potential audience. This is a tricky part as this point is not normally mentioned, and you should find the things out. The things to consider are the tone, the language used, etc. You may also compare this article with similar ones to determine whether it is formal or not. For example: Considering the use of psychological terms, the dissertation is written for people who have expertise in this field like students, professors, etc.
  5. Arguments explanation (if necessary). This 4-sentence structure is a universal basis, and it will be enough if you go for a more concise precis. If you are going to create a longer precis, you should use the explanations of the crucial points that back up your thesis statements.
  6. For a long precis, you also need to summarize the content in two sentences. They restate the thesis and give more insight into the evidence used in a primary paper. Ensure not to involve any extra opinions in this part.

Review and Edit

Completing is not enough. Let someone read your precis and tell whether everything is clear. This feedback will be valuable and help you determine the parts that need improvements. It will be even better if a person is not familiar with the field your precis deals with. Check your text for all possible mistakes and typos using the automated tools that simplify the process and save time. Ensure you didn’t introduce your views unless it is necessary. Stay neutral and unprejudiced.

Read the original text one more time to be confident you gave all the key facts. It is okay to make some adjustments, but don’t rework the whole writing at this stage.

Rules to follow while crafting

  • Control the size of your precis.
  • Even though it is different from a summary, you need to involve a text summary, but it shouldn’t be longer than one paragraph and involve unnecessary details.
  • While dealing with the arguments, pay more attention to the clarity and try to stick to simple terms and syntax. Also, explain every term or phrase that your audience may not be familiar with. Prevent your precis from being illogical or complicated.
  • Check the precis for grammatical, punctuation mistakes, typos, etc. Also, pay attention to the accuracy of facts and numbers.
  • Don’t include any personal ideas and opinions. It is more professional to rely on facts and data from credible sources. You should show the ideas in your own words, but the central aim is to clearly keep the primary purpose and deliver it to readers. Too many direct quotes from the source text are also unacceptable.
  • Ensure the information you deliver is coherent. Create the logical links between the central points.
  • Briefness is a crucial characteristic of precis that shows that it doesn’t involve any details of secondary importance. Ensure your precis doesn’t involve any repetitions and is not too prolix. Pick the words and phrases attentively and broaden your vocabulary.

The Ending note

Dealing with a precis is not as easy as it seems at first glance due to its particularities. We hope this guide helped you avoid typical mistakes in writing a precis and deliver high-quality content and get a high grade. However, if you feel that you can’t deal with this assignment by yourself, we are always there for you.

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